New York State Higher Education Capital
Matching Grant Program
Recommended Approach for Processing Higher Education Capital Matching Grant (HECap Grant) Applications - January 15, 2008
The Dormitory Authority is pleased to act as staff to the Board in connection with implementing the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program (“HECap Program”). As you may be aware, the Dormitory Authority administers a number of grant programs for both the Senate and the Assembly, some of which involve other State agencies such as the State Education Department, the Department of Health, and the Office of Children and Family Services. As such, we have learned a great deal about the administration of grants, and we look forward to implementing that knowledge in connection with this exciting program.
We have outlined below our recommended approach for administering the HECap program, including the review of HECap Grant Applications to determine eligibility for a grant award; the due diligence to be undertaken prior to submitting applications to the Board for approval; the Grant Disbursement Agreement (“GDA”) process; and the payment of requisitions. This approach is similar to the process utilized in connection with other grant programs. Of course, we would be happy to discuss any requested modifications to the process set forth below in order to implement the HECap program in the manner desired by the Board.
Generally, there are four “phases” in the “life cycle” of a grant: 1) application processing; 2) the approval phase; 3) the GDA phase; and 4) the requisition phase.
- Application Processing
- Verify that the project justification is satisfactory in accordance with the statute and, if applicable, Board Guidelines.
- Verify that the project as described in the application meets statutory requirements and Board Guidelines.
- Verify that the application is complete with respect to required information and follow-up with recipient as necessary. Please note that this often involves a number of related tasks, including a determination that the application names the proper grantee, verifying site control, and a wide variety of other issues.
- Verify that the project as described in the application meets federal and state statutory requirements.
- Verify that an appropriate SEQR or CEQR review has been undertaken for the project, or undertake the necessary review acting as Lead Agency.
- Verify any other land use or other requirements that must be met prior to construction including, as applicable, ULURP (required in connection with certain actions in New York City); compliance with zoning codes, compliance with section 14.09 of the Historic Preservation Act, etc.) and participating in those reviews or processes if necessary.
- Verify that the required matching funds are adequate, meet statutory requirements and any Board Guidelines, and have been secured.
- Confirm the proper corporate entity that will be the grantee.
- Undertake appropriate due diligence. This may include obtaining a Uniform Grantee Questionnaire or verifying that the Office of the State Comptroller has approved the Grantee on the Vendex system.
- Obtain bond counsel approval of the project to ensure that Dormitory Authority Bond proceeds may be used to reimburse the State for grants paid under the HECap program.
- Verify that the grant funds will not be used in connection with any religious program or to further any particular religion.
For the convenience of the Board, attached hereto as Exhibit A is a checklist setting forth each of the review items that needs to be completed in this phase.
- Approval Phase
Once all of the above steps have been undertaken, the Dormitory Authority will notify the HECap Board of the completion of its review. After the HECap Board approves grant awards to certain Grantees, the Dormitory Authority will forward a GDA to the Grantee.
In an effort to implement the program initially, the Dormitory Authority may also provide the HECap Board with a list of projects that appear to meet the requirements of the applicable statutes. The HECap Board may approve the projects, subject to the Authority undertaking the due diligence and receiving appropriate documentation set forth above.
- GDA Phase
Once the HECap Board notifies the Dormitory Authority of the award of one or more grants, and all the steps set forth in Section 1 have been undertaken, a GDA will be forwarded to the grantee. A draft form GDA used in other programs is attached hereto as Exhibit D for the Board’s review. It will need to be modified to reflect the HECap Board as the Grantor, and to include certification of prevailing wage, MWBE, etc., and other desired general GDA changes specific to the HECap Program upon final establishment of Program parameters by the HECap Board and updated input from OSC and the Office of the Attorney General.
The Dormitory Authority has had discussions with OSC regarding the level of their anticipated involvement in the review of the contracts to be entered into between the grantees and their contractors for the purposes of determining compliance with the applicable sections of the Labor Law and Executive Law and we have reached agreement as to the process.
Review GDAs for completeness and accuracy upon return. This will include, but shall not be limited to, verification that the budget has not changed (or that a valid rationale is given for the change and the change does not materially affect the approved project, timeline or budget); that the exhibits are properly completed, that an appropriate opinion of counsel has been provided, and that no other issues have arisen that would affect the status of the grant.
Once this review has been completed, arrange for execution of GDA by the Board.
- Requisition Phase
Grantees may begin to requisition funds once the GDA is fully executed utilizing the forms included as exhibits to the GDA. Requisitions are forwarded directly to Accounts Payable.
A desk audit will be performed for each requisition received, including but not limited to verification that proper documentation has been received; that the named grantee is the legal entity responsible for paying the project costs, and confirming that the costs to be paid with grant funds are consistent with the enabling legislation. Approved requisitions will then be forwarded to OSC for payment. OSC will pay the Grantees directly.
- Additional Services and Responsibilities
- Project Management Services
The Authority is also available to provide project management services to institutions who request this service. The cost of this service will be negotiated with each grantee on a case by case basis. In the event a Project Manager is assigned to a particular project, requisitions will be approved by the Project Manager before being forwarded to Accounts Payable.
The Dormitory Authority will maintain detailed project information in a grants database capable of producing reports depicting the grant review process. We may provide the HECap Board with reports setting forth the status of each grant. In addition, the Dormitory Authority will provide the reports as required by Statute to those parties named in the legislation.
Of course, we welcome any suggestions or modifications the Board may have with respect to the above process. We look forward to working closely with each of you to successfully implement the HECap program.
- Project Management Services